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4 May, 2012

Foreign Airlines Optimistic About Chinese Market

By Zhao Shan and Li Yining (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

Beijing, May 03, 2012 – A number of foreign airlines including South African Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines have recently focused on the Chinese market and opened up many direct flights and charter lines to facilitate Chinese tourists。

It is expected that over one-fourth of passengers around the world will come from China.

The foreign airlines paid more and more attention to their development in China, which is inseparable from China’s huge marketplace. Some foreign airlines predicted that the number of passengers of global aviation industry will reach about 800 million in the next three years, with 214 million coming from China. China will make the greatest contribution to the global air transportation.

In addition to the first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, foreign airlines began turning to the second-tier cities. At present, such second-tier cities as Wuhan, Xi’an, Shenyang, Xiamen and Qingdao have had a huge aviation passenger flow and more international routes are needed to meet the increased passengers.

Lufthansa officially opened the Shenyang-to-Frankfurt route in the Taoxian Airport in March, which is the first non-stop flight to the Europe. The airline is the first true non-stop flight to the Europe in Shenyang and it means that passengers in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces can directly fly to the Europe and the travel time will be reduced significantly.

SilkAir, Singapore’s regional subsidiary, have opened stations in Chengdu, Chongqing, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Kunming and Changsha. SilkAir has just opened Singapore-Wuhan direct flight on April 24, with three flights every week. It will provide convenient travel services for passengers from central and southern China.

Since May 9, Finnair will open the Chongqing-Helsinki airline, which will be the first direct flight from Chongqing to the Europe and also the first direct flight in western China. After the opening of the airline, there will be four flights per week at the beginning and about 100,000 international passengers every year.

At the end of 2011, Korean Air has opened 30 airlines in 23 cities of China. Korean Air has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hubei province to appropriately increase the frequency of flights, establishing the Seoul-Wuhan direct flight the best hub for Korean passengers visiting China.

All of the foreign airlines have different orientation and special services when they enter the Chinese market. In order to provide a better service for Chinese passengers, South African Airlines arranged at least one Chinese flight attendant on the Beijing-to-Johannesburg direct flight. The Chinese flight attendants also are arranged in every direct flight from Beijing to Zurich by Swiss Air.

All Nippon Airways in Japan constantly improves its web pages in Chinese so that Chinese passengers can book flights online. In Japan, All Nippon Airways allocated Chinese-speaking staff at the airport counters and all the road signs and fingerposts have a Chinese version. The official micro-blog of All Nippon Airways often provides a variety of free opportunities to visit Japan.

All the flights of Singapore Airlines from China have a personal entertainment system called “KrisWorld” at each seat and provide Chinese operation guide. Passengers can watch television, play games and listen to music. Chinese flight attendants are allocated in all of the flights to and from China in order to better service for Chinese passengers. Other flight attendants can talk with passengers in Chinese. Singapore Airlines also often launch promotions for the Chinese market.

Read the Chinese version at http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrbhwb/html/2012-04/28/content_1043165.htm?div=-1